HAVING TROUBLE getting your kids interested in science, specifically chemistry? Tell them it's bad for them, and the government has banned it!
Okay, The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments (GBCE), written by Robert Brent, with excellent illustrations by Harry Lazarus, is not really banned: Original published by Golden Press in 1960, the book's copyright was not renewed since its last printing in 1971 - the edition I used to own - and is now sadly out of print.
Not that any publisher would touch this book these days: With more than 200 experiments to choose from, the GBCE expects junior chemists to be able to work around flame, be capable enough to carefully break glass pipettes, and maybe even make their own hydrogen or chlorine gas.
Of course GBCE warns, "Be careful not to breathe fumes!"
"For the aspiring chemist who can adhere to the safety precautions, this remains one of the best do-it-yourself chemistry books around," she writes.
One commenter at About.com, Jerry Svoboda, writes, "I learned to think for myself, how to get things done."
Blogger Chris Brunner goes farther, noting, "This book is... the bible for any young chemist-in-training."
"Comparable chemistry books sold today are designed for parents as much as for kids, offering the wan pleasures of experiments that require no glass pieces and no open flames and use only environmentally safe materials," laments Ken Silverstein, author of the non-fiction book The Radioactive Boy Scout, about a boy inspired by the GBCE to build his own nuclear reactor.
"The Golden Book, by contrast, promised to open the doors to a brave new world. It was the era of JFK and the New Frontier, of satellite launches and the race to the moon. The sky truly was the limit," notes Silverstein.
"Chemistry is one of the most important of all sciences for human welfare," the GBCE emphasizes in its introduction. "Chemistry means the difference between poverty and starvation and the abundant life."
And gosh, who wants kids to know about that?